WORCESTER, M.A. (WSYR-TV) –
The Syracuse Mets earned a six-game series split at the Worcester Red Sox on Sunday afternoon, slugging four home runs on their way to a 6-4 win over the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox on a sunny Sunday at Polar Park. The Mets have won eight of the first 12 games they have played against the WooSox so far this season.
Worcester (26-28) jumped ahead in the Sunday afternoon affair, plating two runs in the bottom of the first on just one hit. After Connor Grey recorded the first two outs of the frame, Rob Refsnyder and Christin Stewart both walked to put two runners on base with two outs. Ronaldo Hernandez then slapped a single into right field to plate Refsnyder for a 1-0 lead and move Stewart to third with two outs. The Red Sox then pulled off a sneaky play, sending Hernandez on a steal to second base. Although he was tagged out on the stolen base attempt, Stewart crossed home plate before Hernandez was tagged out in the rundown between first and second, allowing Worcester to extend its lead to 2-0.
It remained that way until the top of the fourth when Syracuse (18-34) began to bring the thunder. First, Travis Blankenhorn lined a drive just over the 22-foot-high wall in right field, clearing the “Worcester Wall” by just a foot for his fifth home run of the season, cutting the deficit to one, 2-1. Blankenhorn had a hit in each of the five games he played in at Worcester this week.
In the top of the fifth, Syracuse roared in front when Khalil Lee unloaded on an offering from Kutter Crawford. The 23-year-old pounded a drive over the high wall in right field with ease, traveling an estimated distance of 468 feet and rocketing 113 miles per hour off the bat as Syracuse took a 3-2 lead. Cody Bohanek came home on Lee’s booming drive after doubling to lead off the inning.
The lead wouldn’t last long, as the WooSox tied it right back up at three in the bottom of the fifth when Connor Wong sent a drive over the left-field wall and onto the grassy berm seats. Wong went a combined 4-for-7 in the final two games of the series with two home runs, three runs scored, and four runs driven in.
In the sixth, Syracuse went back ahead for good via another booming home run. This time, Daniel Johnson sent one over the tall wall in right with Luke Ritter on base to roar the Mets right back in front, this time by a 5-3 margin. Johnson snapped out of a slump with the swing. The left-handed hitter had just three hits in his prior 17 at-bats with 10 strikeouts.
The Mets tacked on a little insurance on another Blankenhorn homer in the top of the eighth. This time, he lined a drive over the center-field wall while leading off the frame, his second round-tripper of the game and his sixth of the season, giving Syracuse a 6-3 advantage. Blankenhorn went 3-for-4 on Sunday afternoon and a combined 9-for-18 in the series with five runs driven in and six runs scored.
In the ninth, Mets reliver Eric Orze entered the game and earned his first save of the season. After allowing a solo home run to start the inning to Jeter Downs to make it 6-4, Orze buckled down and retired the next three Worcester batters in order to ensure Syracuse would earn a series split. The Mets pitching staff racked up 11 strikeouts in the victory. Syracuse starter Connor Grey had six punchouts in his four-inning start, all of which were swinging strikeouts.
Syracuse returns home next week for seven games in six days against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. First pitch on Tuesday night is set for 6:35 p.m.